WEST (May 27, 2014) Nearly 40 cyclists pedaled into West Tuesday afternoon after completing the sixth leg of the 2014 Brotherhood Ride, a 750 mile bike tour to honor 19 first responders who died in the line of duty in 2013 in Texas, including those were killed in the April 17, 2013 fertilizer plant explosion.
The group traveled 87 miles from Dallas to West Tuesday.
The tour started in Baton Rouge and will end in Houston.
The stop in West was symbolic.
The riders, almost all of whom are firefighters or police officers, wanted to honor the sacrifice of the 12 first responders who lost their lives in the explosion at West Fertilizer Co.
“Everybody always says we never forget, so we're actually bringing that out in people and bringing awareness to the guys who paid the ultimate sacrifice," Captain Tim Dunn of the Houston Fire Department said.
The group was greeted Tuesday by current West EMS and West VFD members and planned to spend the night in the new West EMS building.
“The best thing was seeing their trucks at the front of the town to bring us home. The dedication that volunteers show is like none other, and these guys aren’t any different,” Brotherhood Ride founder Jeff Morse said.
“Here's this group of men that doesn't know anyone in West but we want to come out and show them we haven't forgotten their loved ones,” Morse said.
The group will bike 104 miles to Bryan on Wednesday, where they will honor two firefighters who died battling a blaze at the Knights of Columbus hall there last year.
Dunn says the rides have been tough and tiring, but he finds strength thinking of those he’s riding for.
“You know what the families are going through and what they sacrificed, it’s what drives us and keeps us going," Dunn said.